|Three Boeing 777-300ERs to be reconfigured to transport cargo Photo: Air Canada|
Three Boeing 777-300ER will be updated for this purpose by removing all the seats. One of three 777 aircraft which will be used for transporting cargo has already been reconfigured and is now in service.
Whereas, the second and third aircraft are being reconfigured shortly. The airline also said that this modification has been developed and implemented within six days.
Boeing 777-300ER is the largest aircraft in Air Canada’s fleet. After reconfiguration, these aircraft can carry 89.63 tonnes of cargo, the equivalent of up to 9 million medical masks.
The three Boeing 777s are being converted by Avianor, an aircraft maintenance and cabin integration specialist, at its facility in Mirabel, Que.
|All 422 seats would be removed Photo: Air Canada|
Avianor developed the plan to remove all 422 seats on each plane and then create cargo loading zones and restrain the cargo with cargo nets.
However, it is unlikely that the windows will be blocked, as this modification is for short-term purpose only.
The reconfiguration is being overseen by Air Canada’s engineering team and all operations have been certified and approved by Transport Canada.
|Cargo nets are used to keep the cargo safe Photo: Air Canada|
Speaking about this quick development, Tim Strauss, Vice President of the cargo branch of Air Canada said:
“Bringing critical medical and other vital supplies rapidly to Canada and helping distribute them across the country is imperative to combating the COVID-19 crisis. The transformation of the Boeing 777-300ERs, our largest international wide-body aircraft, doubles the capacity of each flight and will enable more goods to move more quickly.”
“The rapid transformation of some of our aircraft to meet cargo demand reflects our ability to maximize our fleet assets quickly when these aircraft would otherwise be parked.”
|Large volume of medical supplies will be transported Photo: Air Canada|
He also stated that, the next two aircraft are on track of completion and will be in service within the coming days.
Due to huge increase in demand, the cargo division of Air Canada has been using mainline fleet to transport medical supplies and cargo.
Since March 22, the airline has operated 40 all-cargo flights averaging around 13 flights per week. The airline also plans to operate up to 20 cargo flights per week after completion of all Boeing 777s.
Air Canada is currently using its fleet of Boeing 787s and Boeing 777s as well as the recently configured Boeing 777-300ER to transport medical supplies to and from Europe and Hong Kong.
|Air Canada is currently using Boeing 787s to transport cargo Photo: Air Canada|
The airline is also working to transport medical supplies from Asian countries as well in days to come.